Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker combined to win Great Britain’s first gold medal of the 2013 UCI World Track Championship in Minsk, Belarus, with victory in the women’s team pursuit.
The trio clocked three minutes and 18.140 seconds to beat Australia’s Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins by 1.773 seconds and secure Great Britain’s fifth world title in six years in the discipline.
With Olympic gold medallist Jo Rowsell absent in order to concentrate on her road career, A-Level student Barker, 18, slotted seamlessly in the line-up to stake her claim for the fourth spot in the squad when the women’s team pursuit increases to four riders and 4,000m next year.
“It was scary [being the youngest member of the team] to be honest but I couldn’t ask for better team-mates,” said Barker. “They are the best in the world, who better to learn from?”
Trott added: “We didn’t know what sort of time we were going to do, we put a 3:20 on the board in training, the track seems to be running fast. We were so happy to qualify in 3:18 and it’s just a race from then on.
“No way [is there an Olympic hangover]. Who wouldn’t want to win another stripey jumper?”
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Martyn Irvine won an historic gold and silver medal in the scratch race and individual pursuit respectively.
First Irvine claimed silver in the individual pursuit, losing out on the top spot of the podium to Australia’s reigning champion Michael Hepburn.
But less than an hour later the 27-year-old Irvine attacked his scratch race rivals with 10 of 60 laps remaining to win Ireland’s first gold medal at the championships for 117 years.
Back in the British camp and Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Kian Emadi finished a disappointing sixth in the men’s team sprint after failing to qualify for the medal races.
Emadi, who finished fourth in the kilo on Wednesday, replaced six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy as ‘man three’ in the line-up but, with Great Britain second-fastest after two laps, the 20-year-old failed to hold Kenny’s wheel and the trio slipped to sixth overall.
“It’s very hard to replace someone like Chris,” said sprint coach Jan van Eijden. “We have four years to hopefully get it right.
“We had good preparation and thought we were in with a big shout of medals but unfortunately our third man could not hang on at the start.
“It’s hard in training to simulate that hard start. Because Philip did fairly well, Jason had to go after him and that really stretched Kian.”
Becky James won bronze in the women’s 500m time trial, the Welsh rider’s second medal of that colour of the week after finishing third in the team sprint with Vicky Williamson.
“I’m pretty shocked,” said the 21-year-old. “I’ve come in with good form, but the 500’s always been a hard event and I didn’t expect to come away with a medal. It was a bit of an agonising wait towards the end, when everyone was going a bit slower.
“To come away with a medal, I’m so happy.”
Williamson finished 11th in the event, while Owain Doull, who like Williamson is one of six World Championship debutant in the British squad, was fifth in the scratch race. Steven Burke could only finish 17th in the individual pursuit after being drafted in as a late replacement for Andy Tennant.